Frances Pelletier is an artist from Edmonton who is showing and selling her work at Art World Expo Edmonton on March 16 at the Muttart Conservatory. We caught up with her today to learn more about her work, meaning and goals.
What’s your background?
My background probably has the most influence on my art today. I was born in 1965 and raised in Edmonton, AB. Growing up, I was exposed to photography, music, writing, painting, and singing. My family is very artistic/musical. My dad introduced me to oil painting at an early age. I finished 3 paintings I believe. Then I assume my piano lessons took over. I don’t remember painting again until my late teens. This time it was watercolors that I dabbled with on my own. One work is really all that came of it. A lighthouse that is hanging in my parent’s home.
Dad was a photographer and he would take me on road trips in the countryside to take photos of old houses and barns. It was quite an adventure. I would climb around in these old buildings and pose for pictures in doors and up high in windows. Visits to my uncle’s farm every summer were great fun, too. My uncle had granaries full of old treasures (not grain!). At the top of the hill we could visit a huge array of old cars. A car graveyard. Rural scenes, old cars and old buildings are now a favorite subject for me to paint!
Growing up in Edmonton gave me an appreciation for city life. It might sound odd, but I happen to really like the look of oil refineries. They were practically in our backyard! At night the lights look so pretty. I hope to do a painting that flatters the refineries. One day. Bussing it to university every day, I got to see the river valley, cross over a lot of bridges and take in all the high rises of the city. I guess this is why I also like to paint cityscapes.
After completing my BA Special in Criminology at the U of A, I was unable to obtain work in this field. Marriage and children happened instead. What a blessing! My husband, Mark, and I moved to his home town of Legal, AB. Mark returned to farming and we moved out of town and raised 4 children. I really had no time or space for art as the kids were growing up.
Fast forward 30 years to 2017. I am not sure how it really happened, I just decided to buy a cheap acrylic paint set at Walmart and try my hand at painting again. Since I have no formal art training I turned to YouTube and discovered I could learn quite a lot from some of the tutorials! Living on the farm gives me so many photo opportunities which in turn develop into art. My “art heart” is torn between city and country life.
What does your work aim to say?
I aim to show the beauty in whatever I am painting. I like to paint realistically in most cases. I’m a stickler for rules and laws, a “by the book” kind of person. I believe that’s why I like to paint things true to their likeness. Basically, a painting should look like what it represents. That’s how I’ve always felt. Impressionism and abstract art seem difficult for me to comprehend and even harder to create! However, I am trying to grow my style by taking a few art classes and painting subjects that are out of my comfort zone.
My paintings of old buildings, cars and rural scenery are an attempt on my part to capture what is fading away in the countryside. Eventually, all the old houses, homesteads, cars and machinery will disappear, to be replaced by new homes, modern cars and farm equipment. We can never go back. It’s kind of sad, but the past will live on in my artwork.
Who are your biggest influences?
I would say that I am inspired and influenced the most by my Dad and my sister. Dad, because he photographed and painted a variety of subjects from the countryside and from the city. And of course, he introduced me to painting early in life. He’s supportive and encouraging in all my artistic endeavors. And my sister, what can I say…she inspires me because her art is so unique and unstructured. She works with mixed media and where my work is quite detailed and controlled her art can be abstract and freeing! Sometimes we work together in her studio and I learn so much! Techniques, mediums and enthusiasm!
How have you developed your career?
My “career” is pretty short, having just got going in March of 2017. I’m pretty prolific and spend quite a bit of time in my studio. At first, I did a few art walks in St. Albert. It’s there that I was introduced to Instagram. Thanks Karen! I learned about The Art from the Unknown from my sister. That was a great experience. Rachel Notley does a geat job with that show! I sold my first 2 paintings to people other than friends and family! I also joined the VASA (Visual Arts Studio Association) gallery and took part in an exhibition this past December. I started up my website (www.fdp-artworks.com). There are all sorts of opportunities if you spend some time searching the internet. I will be the feature artist at the Dow Centennial Center’s Alberta Lottery Fund Art Gallery in Fort Saskatchewan, AB during the month of July. I’ll have about 25 paintings hanging there. Instagram connected me with The Art World Expo in Edmonton. I just want to grow and expand, connect with other artists and let it happen!
Where do you want to go with your art?
I guess I would like to continue to expand my art to include other mediums besides acrylic. Watercolor is something I would really like to experiment with. I want to get my name out there. It will be a challenge since I live in a somewhat remote area. The idea of Studio visits appeals to me, but again, my location poses a challenge. Being surrounded by open space is appealing, though. I’d like to keep my artwork affordable, but if one day a big gallery takes an interest my work I wouldn’t turn down any opportunity! I want to continue to paint what appeals to me and not get caught up in just trying to please everyone else.
To learn more about Frances, visit her website HERE